Skip to comments.The Election of 1864
Posted on 01/21/2004 7:05:04 AM PST by Redcoat LI
The Election of 1864 Advantage: Commander-in-chief.
The standing ovation for the chairman of the interim Iraqi Governing Council, the systematic refutation of all the tired canards "unilateralism," "preemption," and "hubris" praise and admiration for Afghans, the peroration about the historic times we are in and the promise to press on, all this was Trumanesque, delivered in Tuesday night's State of the Union Address with spirit and without apology. Even Mr. Bush's sterner maxims "They declared war on the United States and war is what they got" were more majestic than haughty. No apologies, no going back, no regrets, no boasting.
In reaction, the tortured expressions of a Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton were testament to the strength of his message, and the accompanying fear that the president's words could only have a powerful effect in reminding Americans that they should be proud of their sacrifice and idealism as they see the war and its aftermath through. All this was a sad contrast to this week's senseless furor of Howard Dean, the weird convolutions of Wesley Clark, and the empty platitudes of John Kerry. We are learning that this bunch appears either frantic or puerile precisely because they still don't grasp that by any historical standard the American military's record in Afghanistan and Iraq has been phenomenal, and the Sisyphean task of implanting democracy amid autocracy the moral act of our age. All this Mr. Bush articulated more than well and rightly so for without him it would all in fact have been impossible.
Unfortunately, the last half of the speech did not match the power of the stirring beginning. The details of American pathologies from sexually transmitted diseases to the abuse of steroids by athletes were better left for other occasions. And some of us are very worried about elements of the president's domestic agenda for example his proposed guest-worker program that by applying a veneer of legality to a vast web of illegality will only make things worse until we deal honestly and systematically with the moral, ethical, and political dimensions of illegal immigration that transcend labor and economics. In addition, tax-cut extensions, war, needed military investment, Middle East reconstruction, space exploration, domestic security, and prescription-drug entitlements do not add up, but result in rates of deficit spending that are unsustainable.
Yet the president realizes that his singular leadership in this deadly struggle is such that unease elsewhere with his budget and immigration initiatives must remain for most of us just that unease. Where the president is great the opposition is pathetic; and where he is on weak ground, they are still weaker as evidenced by the collective ankle biting of Dean, Clark, and Kerry and the responses of Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle.
After this startling week of contrasts, the election of 2004 is sizing up to be as pivotal to the security and future safety of the United States as that of 1864; and if things stay as they are, most Americans and rightly so will vote now for their incumbent commander-in-chief as they once did then.
Kennedy looked like he was going to cry. Especially when Dubya mentioned "No Child Left Behind" which was supposed to be Kennedy's bill.
I loved it.
You don't say, "The president hurt our children by the Puppies and Flowers Act."
For example no mention is made of the Democrat opponent in 1864, General George McClellan. This role could easily be played by today's anti-war general Wesely Clark. There are other comparisons likely to be made, between the other lessor known Democrats of that era and those that occupy the stage today.
Without these details and with no direct comparison between Lincoln and Bush, the article fails (imo) to convey the historical linkage back to 1864.
I have a feeling that people who read National Review, know who it was and could even tell you that he too ran against an ankle-biting opposition party that relied entirely on racist, class warfare tactics even then and whose nominee was a very bitter and egotistical failed 4-star General.
The People magazine folks don't read NR.
No apologies, no going back, no regrets, no boasting.
Victor Davis Hanson moral clarity huge BUMP [please freepmail me if you want or don't want to be pinged to Victor Davis Hanson articles]
If you want to bookmark his articles discussed at FR: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/k-victordavishanson/browse
His NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp